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For-profit long-term care homes receiving bulk of new bed licenses, report finds

Posted: December 1, 2021

(November 30, 2021)

By: Leah Gerber, Toronto Star

Jim Stewart, Co-Chair of the Waterloo Region Health Coalition, advocates for better nursing homes and for Ontario to ban for-profit nursing homes during a rally at Waterloo Town Square.

WATERLOO REGION — Jim Stewart is infuriated at the treatment of elders in Ontario and how the province plans to provide elder care for the next generation.

“We are at a critical crossroads in long-term care, and I’m outraged actually at what is happening,” said Stewart, chair of the Waterloo Region Health Coalition. “What’s really infuriating me is the fact that the worst performers during the pandemic, the for-profit long-term care chains, are getting the bulk of the funding.”

The Ontario Health Coalition has just completed a new report outlining their evaluation of the province’s bed allocation plan for long-term care.

The province is in the process of awarding 30-year capital funding deals and operational licenses for 30,000 new long-term care beds, and upgrading thousands more outdated long-term care beds.

For-profit, non-profit and municipal-run organizations providing long-term care can apply for the bed allocations.

The Ontario Health Coalition found the majority of the bed licenses in progress, over 16,000, are being awarded to for-profit homes. They found almost 14,000 of the in-progress beds are going to non-profit and municipal homes.

For-profit long-term care homes have had the worst track record during the pandemic, said Stewart during a virtual press release.

The Ontario Health Coalition report says the pandemic illuminated issues of systemic negligence in for-profit long-term care that had been growing for years.

The province’s overview on long-term care states that “by law, long-term care homes must provide residents safe, consistent, high-quality, and resident-centred care,” and that the Ministry of Health regulates and inspects all long-term care homes.

The Canadian military outlined terrible conditions in five of the hardest-hit long-term care facilities where they were sent to help during the pandemic.

For example, at one private long-term care facility in Etobicoke, the military report detailed that a catheter had been reused after it had been pulled out and laid on the floor for an indeterminate amount of time.

Other findings at the same facility included inadequate dosing intervals of medications during palliative care and bad hygiene practices; the report stated the task force found nearly a dozen bleeding fungal infections on male residents’ genitals because of improper cleaning during peri-catheterization care.

Last year, for-profit long-term care homes averaged 7.3 deaths per 100 registered beds during the pandemic, according to the Toronto Star. Non-profit homes averaged 3.8 deaths per 100 residents and municipal homes averaged 1.5.

On the overview of the application for long-term care bed funding, the province states that new and upgraded beds will “help reduce wait-lists, ease hospital capacity pressures and ensure every resident can experience the best possible quality of life, supported by safe, high-quality care.”

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